How to Measure Online-Video Advertising: Shaping the Fog of “Engagement”

“Video advertising is still ‘in its diapers’… you gotta remember that most people don’t want to see ads” said eMarketer’s David Hallerman in a webcast last Thursday (October 21, 2010). eMarketer provided highlights from a report (“Video Advertisement Engagement: What Marketers Need to Know”) in the one-hour webinar, and slides are excerpted from that.

Engagement is worth defining considering it's what advertisers want most (after awareness)

Hallerman says online-video is the most expensive form of digital advertising, and skews toward professional content not user-generated. He explores both the definitions and forms of engagement. Per the chart on the right, awareness is still the #1 goal of marketers followed closely by engagement (according to an April 2010 study by Tremor Media of 98 advertisers/agencies).

So what is engagement? Some say it’s paying attention, others refer to interactivity, and still others refer to what happens afterwards.

I’d prefer to focus on what Hallerman calls server based data (a view, start-rate, completion time, mouse-over, sharing) and not survey data (like “brand health” metrics like awareness or intent, reported by Insight Express or Dynamic Logic). However those “brand health” metrics can be vital to determining “intent to buy,” which is often not captured by server metrics (although some cookies provide advertisers data about purchases that occur long after a video view).

Engagement metrics include:

  • Interactivity (clicking ad or mousing over): Scanscout’s cost-per-engagement. Hallermans says there’s an increasing desire among marketers for interactive pre-rolls.
  • Sharing or commenting
  • Interactions, experience (Forbes)
  • Two-way

Context is also important… an auto-roll on gaming or entertainment site is not going to be as powerful as a self-directed and completed video on a shopping site. Hallerman reminds us that consumers value HD (above many other factors) and that quality (original versus repurposed) is vital, and that’s an important insight. During the Q&A Hallerman later acknowledged that some studies are showing that repurposed television commercials are faring better than once expected.

Online-video advertising spend is growing in strong double digits through 2014 according to eMarketer

eMarketer projects continued growth of the medium as depicted above — reaching at least $5.5 billion by 2014. But when it comes to online-video ad views, all video sites aren’t created equally (comScore, Sept. 30, 2010). The report shows that “ads per viewer” on Hulu is more than seven times higher than Google/YouTube sites. See the rank of video-advertising properties, and Hulu tops followed by Brightcove and Tremor Media (both which serve ads on websites not exclusively devoted to video content). At 30 ads per viewer per month, it’s no wonder Hulu is considering cutting its monthly subscription in half.

Far more online-video ads are consumed on Hulu and networks (Brightcove and Tremor) than on Google/YouTube

Time per month per viewer on YouTube is nearly twice that of Hulu, despite Hulu’s content being generally longer (22 minute shows versus 2-3 minute videos). Hallerman refers to Hulu’s experience as “lean back” because we allow the show “to wash over” us, whereas other sites (YouTube) require a more “lean forward” experience. Marketers, says Hallerman, are looking for what they know from broadcast advertising — pre or mid-rolls played “in stream” during a video’s view.

An August 2010 study by comScore shows time per viewer leading by YouTube then Hulu

Marketers choose ad-networks to target online-video ads based on two factors: demographic or content. A beauty ad on Break.com, Hallerman explains, won’t likely get high engagement. As for viral?

“…You don’t just make something go viral,” Hallermans says. “It’s really a whole process that needs a blend of paid, owned and earned.” He provides the recent Old Spice example, which involved paid ads on television and the web, a microsite showing more content, and “earned” media where video answers responded to specific bloggers. He credits the paid ads were the “spark.”

Aside from viral or its own reason, here are what some marketers claim to have accomplished on YouTube. So one in five (20%) say their YouTube videos have driven sales via links. But recognize that the data are not saying that happens twenty percent of the time- it’s usually in the low single digits in my experience.

YouTube marketing tactics reported by marketers (MarketingProfs 2009).

Branded content (where the marketing is not “heavy handed” and is “almost a bi-product”) is the most effective forms of marketing according to an October 2010 report by the CMO Council. Branded content tops more traditional online advertising models or even database-driven behavioral marketing. Video content, for instance, about dogs with dog-food product placement… may have a greater impact than dog-food ads alone. “Creating an experience,” Hallerman says, “is hard but important.” These can be tracked by brand-equity scores. He provides another example of a hair-care product that might show entertaining or educational fashion tips (focusing on benefits) rather than advertising about the product (features).

During the eMarketer webcast, EyeWonder shared “server side” data that show higher engagement rates for ads in the financial sector, with travel or electronics on the low side of engagements. EyeWonder showed a case study involving Gatorade’s G Series, which featured a 15-second ad that allows customers to see how the beverage helps before, during and after an athletic event. The click-thru rate was a tame .13%, but the a video completion rate was an impressive 62% across all of the impressions.

Hallerman was asked to comment on how to make a video more likely to be viral, but said if he had the answer he’d be working at an agency. Perhaps he just needs a copy of “Beyond Viral.” 🙂

See You at Blogworld in Vegas

As I mentioned in a recent video (“Advertising Doesn’t Have to Suck,” I’m off to Blogworld. It’s the “South by Southwest” of social media, and packed with bloggers, vloggers, and even stupid people. Steve Garfield (fellow video enthusiast) is leading a session, and we’re both doing book signings on Friday. On Friday, he signs “Get Seen” at 2:00 and I sign “Beyond Viral” at 2:30. I plan to stalk his fans holding a sign that says, “if you liked Get Seen, you might also like Beyond Viral.”

Sadly Samsung’s Galaxy never came through, so I won’t be smashing my iPad. I tried. However I will be stalking Kent Nichols and Jim Louderback (cheesy photo below). You can bet on that.

Jim Louderback Likes Geeky Computer Magazines

Friends, don’t be anti-social media… come hang. (See “anti-social media” below):

Research Suggests Web Video is As Good as Television, and Viewers Are Ages 18-34.

Fresh new data about online-video views, sharing and viewers! The source is YouTube, Next New Networks and Frank N. Magid & Associates (see press release and blog), and the data was collected between May 18 and June 4, 2010. While it’s not super fresh, it’s filling a void in the past year.

Two important take-aways: First, the audience is digging its online video. More than half of those surveyed (people who have watched Web original videos) deem them to be just as, if not more, entertaining than what they view on traditional television. Did you hear that? As good as TV. And 25% find it more entertaining than traditional television. That explains why these folks are 2.5 times more likely to be “engaged.” They’re clearly watching more sophisticated content than mine.

Now before we get too excited, clearly YouTube and Next New Networks aren’t exactly objective here. Both have something to gain from convincing advertisers that this web-video fad, like the Fushigi and pet rock, is here to stay. However there are two things that make me inclined to trust the data: First, hopefully someone with a website as boring as Frank Magid’s is keeping an eye on the methodology and sample. Secondly, YouTube/Google almost NEVER shares data. So that’s a big deal.

I’m never sure what to do with excerpts like “four out of ten share videos,” because I’m more interested in how often they share. For instance, I’d be among the percentage of people who has seen my dentist in the past year (hey look I made him a website: drjeffreymercando.com). But that overlooks the reality that I’d not seen him for several years prior to my visit last month. If you surveyed me if I floss, I’d say yes. But how often?

The second interesting fact about this collective study is that online-video viewers are indeed young: mostly 18-34. There was no shame in the way YouTube/NNN and Magid depicted the demographic of online-video viewers. Rather than trying to dance around one of the leading concerns advertisers have about any new medium (that their target isn’t there)… YouTube & Next New Networks tell it like it is:

“According to recent Nielsen reports, the average age of television viewers is over the age of 50. However, this research revealed that 18-34 year old Web original viewers constituted 65% of the National sample, 73% of the YouTube sample, and 90% of Next New Networks’ sample. Not only does the coveted 18-34 demographic spend many hours viewing video online on a regular basis, but the research shows that this time spent with online video and Web original content leads to less time with TV. Web original video viewers spend 13% less time with TV than non-viewers.”

No they're actually 18-35. It's not just that they think they are.

So these fellas are kinda saying, “yeah we’re not television… but our audience is more engaged, and it’s that coveted 18-34 year olds who spend a lot of money.” And then it tosses in the fact that for these peeps, television isn’t growing. This demo, according to the research, is 13% less likely to watch the boob tube.

I present this cautiously. I recall the advertiser trepidation with the Internet itself, based on the assumption that online surfers were all college kids, and we (almost overnight) saw that change. Now, of course, online-use kinda mirrors the general population (at least in the U.S.)… that’s where this is heading. Eventually, like it’s true for the web, any target can be found via online video, with varying degrees of precision and scale. So I don’t want to let brands targeting different audiences, “off the hook.” Media buyers hold demographic data like Irish people hold grudges, and we don’t want to see advertisers write online-video off as the medium for just for Vodka, Kaplan, and Sandals Resorts. I think we need to keep a close eye on how online-video viewership of moms and boomers grow in the next months and years.

That being said, it skews young right now. Let’s face it and embrace it. Anyone up for cramming for the GMATS over a martini in Jamaica?

“The findings are an incredible point of validation for Web original programming as a key source of entertainment and viewers find it to be on par with television programming,” said Rick Silvestrini, Product Marketing Manager at YouTube, while holding in a 27-year-old fart.

Speaking of Silvestrini, below is my video remix of him, inspired by a comment I noticed about his original video where someone swears they heard a fart. Is this tasteless? Yes. Biting the hand that feeds you? Perhpaps. But could you expect me to restrain myself? No way.

No offense Rick. I’m the same guy that stuck Jordan Hoffner’s sound bite about advertisers fearing cats on skateboards into a “best of cats on skateboards” remix. And Chad Hurley still thinks of the anchovy pizza video when he sees me. It’s love… it’s just tough love.

I’m Going to Blog World San Fran Because… Chris Brogan Said I Am.

Find me at Blog World and Mention Chris Brogan. Receive Free Top-10 Video Tips. Retail Value: $1 Billion.

So a week or so ago I sent Chris Brogan a note. Asked him if he could get me a free pass to Blog World San Fran Los Vegas (thanks CB and SG), and offered to fill a last-minute speaking slot, be on a panel, or hand out drinks. I can’t let Steve Garfield get all the attention with Get Seen when I’ve got my book, Beyond Viral, coming out in the next weeks.

Yesterday Chris e-mailed me to confirm that I’m attending, and saying he mentioned me in a draft “9 Ways to Rock Blog World” on his wickedly popular Chris Brogan blog. My response: “if you say I’m going, Chris, then I’m going.”

So now I’m not only going (by plane, train or Greyhound bus), I’ll be giving away a card with top-10 secrets than can help you promote yourself and/or business via online video. But here’s the catch. I’ll be keeping these hidden, and giving them away to anyone that mentions Chris Brogan. I’d give away copies of the book, but I’m a little worried about carrying 500 books around inconspicuously.

Thanks, Chris. I want to be you when I grow up. And when are we going to work on your fledging YouTube persona? I can double your views in a week for one case of beer.

P.S. THIS JUST IN (3:00 pm): Marc Monseau invited me to the J&J sponsored healthcare round table (Social Health). I’m quite sure it wasn’t an inducement prompted by my giving him a free book… I didn’t even autograph it.

The Daily Reel (TDR) Goes RIP?

I’m always the last guy to realize someone got laid off. Or someone took a new job. Or the company I worked for shut down 6 months ago, which explains the lack of paycheck and the movers trying to box my computer.

The Daily Reel Goes DarkSo it shouldn’t surprise me that months after The Daily Reel (TDR) apparently died, I’m starting to realize it. No message on the company blog. No new headlines on the homepage. Ads promote an event that happened in October. Heck I free, freelanced for them and I don’t remember getting a memo.

Everything just frozen in time like some of the homes in New Orleans even two years after Katrina. Can’t they hire a temp to turn the lights out?

Halfway through this post, I decided to do a Google News search. New TeeVee writer Liz Gannes was a full 5 days ahead of me in noticing TDR’s dormancy.

I have been tracking some of the alumnae, who are diplomatic about their former employer but extatic about their new gigs:

This reminds me a little of a video spoof I did about online video called Chapter11TV (someone has since squatted the domain name, which used to host a fake site).

The major lesson? Know what you want to be when you grow up. TDR, to me, started as an Entertainment Weekly of online video. Then it started hosting video podcasts, which I thought was complementary. What confused me is when the site invited creators to post their own videos (as opposed to using Revver or another provider). Eventually it was trying to become a community for online video enthusiasts, which gave it an identity crisis and made it, to a degree, competition with some of the sites it was covering. Its final act was facilitating a conference in October.

There were some smart folks involved, so I’m guessing the demise was a result of investor impatience and desperation. Sorry for the folks that set up Reeled In accounts at my urging. Want to do a pool for how long before the site has a 404?